they are worried. they want to see us win. neil: all right. that stops? >> that stops, and also independents who are worried out there, want to make certain the governor can do it, they saw a man prepared to be president. this will turn things. in fairness, the polls were coming our way. neil: we shall see. very nicely for you to stop by. appreciate it. you know, if you rook at what's going on here, liken it to a prize fight where the champion, you know, is meeting the challenger, the champion tends to be favored. he is the incumbent president in this case, but he's never been really significantly challenged, and, you know, he has not had a real need for a tune-up fight in four years, app along comes a guy who wants to take him on and pelt him with blows. now, the champion either survives that, and in a full 12 or 15 rounds, if it goes the
distance, even if it's close, the default is still to the champion, and the president's people say, well, it went the distance, it was a good debate, there were no knock down blows so the default still goes to the president. now, the romney folks are already making it clear, no, our challenger just knocked out apollo 3. now, whether that's the case, really, to me, the eye of the beholder, author davis is here, he electrified the alabama congressman who left the democratic party because more to the point the democratic party left him. now a big romney supporter, always a pleasure, congressman. >> good to see you. neil: how did it good? >> best performance since bill clinton in 1992. mitt romney strategically did everything he needed to do, and the democrats know that.
if you look at the democratic spin, people walking around tonight, they are downcast. neil: you know -- >> there are at many of them. they don't have as much to say. neil: just peek around the audience, the number of democrats, seeing the ratio like 8-to-1 republicans. that's just me. you're seeing congressman chaffetz interviewed, but what do you say to that? >> you can't be a great communicator unless you have great things to communicate. president obama faltered tonight. he was halting. he was on the defensive. he couldn't wait to get off the stage. there's a reason for that. neil: that's your opinion. >> well, no, you could observe the fact he got off the stage. neil: i heard a lot, comments to jim lehrer, about you took my five seconds. >> there's a reason president obama struggled tonight. he struggled the last four years. you can't make a great defense of a record that's not been great. you can't communicate well
things you have not delivered well. president obama has not had the four years he wanted to have. he had to talk about it and defend it tonight. he simply -- neil: what do you make, congressman, the argument, that the president is the champ; right? he survived without getting knocked down or knocked out certainly, the default goes to the champ. the champ regimely gets the decision. >> well, i don't know. i saw moments where it looked like he was on the canvas. when mitt romney was coming barks, and point by point saying, yes, you cut medicare -- neil: the five trillion, did you, you did not -- >> here's why it register. anyone on medicare knows the government does not give you a direct amount of money. the government reimburses the doctors. if the government cuts the money that reimburses your doctors, that's how the government cuts medicare. few understand that. neil: at the very least, you think mitt romney might have arrested what had been some
losing momentum in the swing states? >> mitt romney sounded like a president tonight, looked like a president. there's no substitute for that. neil: okay. congressman, great covering you over the last many months. >> good seeing you always. neil: a republican convention, this guy, you know, he was k like, hey, yao -- you're a republican now. very funny, very good speech. >> thank you. neil: we have dan debolt joining us now, might have a slightly different view than the congressman, the president's campaign national press secretary. ben, i think you heard what the congressman said that your guy lost tonight. >> you know, governor romney came into the debate to prosecute a case against the president. i think what was surprising was how much time mitt romney spent on the defensive tonight over his $5 trillion tax cut for millionaires and billionaires. he can't explain the budget math. that tax cut for millionaires and billionaires --
neil: he said it's not $5 trillion by the way. here's my thought. i don't know who's right, by the way, but i have a question for you. how does that register back to average folks at home? is to, is not, is to, is not. does that leave folks confuse the like what the hell is this? >> well, you've seen the polling, the "wall street journal" nbc poll last week saying the american people side with the president on taxes, and they think it's crazy mitt romney is raising taxes on the middle class family with kids di $2,000 to pay for $5 trillion tax cuts on millionaires and billionaires. neil: well, he said that's not the case. i know where we go on this. do you think the president's blows were as many as romney's blow? i mention this because they go through, we'll give the president points on how he got -- how romneycare, it's a slippery slope, distinguishing it from the national health care
plan, but that romney got in far more blows. what do you think of that? >> i think that's the exact wrong score card, neil. pundits use that score card. the president was looking in the camera laying out the economic choice in the election between building an economy from the middle class out through investments in things like educction and manufacturing and reducing the deficit, or that top-down approach mitt romney's for. the target was the undecided voter tuning in in the suburbs of denver, sitting on the couch with their family to the campaign for the first time. i think he really reached those voters tonight. neil: all right, ben, you know the president better than i do. he appeared to a lot of people here to have been flustered or annoyed even by some of the attack lines of mitt romney whether he thought romney was selling lies or half truths, whatever. it get under his skin.
it feeds a narrative, and maybe you can address this, that the president has a thin skin, and if you get under it, you got a cornucopia. what do you say? >> i don't think that's the case at all, neil. i think that the president is as cool as they come. he certainly was in the debate stage tonight speaking directly to the american people, and not interested in any punches from his opponent, but laying out the choice in the election and his plans. really speaking past the cameras directly to the millions of americans watching across the country. we know that he's calm and steady-headed in a crisis, and that's a quality that mitt romney, obviously, does not share. he was a little bit catchy tonight. you have seen him tested on the world stage, alienated our allies overseas. you saw the reaction to the events in libya going out before -- neil: you're right to raise
those examples, and i know you got to ago, but i appreciate you taking the time. one thing that stuck out to me was this eye factor, who looks at whom, and maybe i make a big deal of this stuff, but the president spent much more time looking in the camera. mitt romney, much more time, especially when he criticized the president, looking at the president. what did you think of that? >> i think that tells you about the two different focuses of the campaign. mitt romney spent the past year and a half attacking the president. the american people know he can ably attack the president, but they are looking for the specifics behind the plans, and mitt romney did not outline those tonight. the president looked directly in the camera telling the american people how he'd restore economic security for the middle class. neil: ben, thank you very much. i know you're a man in demand tonight. ben labolt. >> thanks for having me. neil: here's where we stand now as we take a quick break in the spin room. the spinners are still out. the throngs still there.
i am getting from a lot the romney folks that no scientific survey here, but a pal pble sense of relief. they went in fearing there was a prom innocent democrat, david axe lrod, telling us his guy did well tonight, but this is up for debate. you can go back and forth. i'm just reading from a lot of the romney folks that no matter what david axelrod says, they are just feeling good there's going to be a morning and a new day in the fight, that is @ not over, and that their guy delivered the goods. now, when was that enough to deliver the winning goods, anyone's guess. ed, the former mcdonald usa ceo, who told me a little more than 24 hours ago, he's got to take this fight to the big guy, or he's going to lose this fight to the big guy. ed on mitt after this. ♪ look, if you have copd like me,
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>> jim, give us a chance. >> mr. president, you're entitled to your own plane and house, but not your own facts. i'm not going to cut education funding. kneel nemo all right. we clipped the first part of that, but the president was referring to the comment from mitt romney get the government out of the whole college loan business or cutback on it, that kids could go to their parents, ask for money for college, and that was something that the president really zeroed in on. mitt romney said that was not what he meant and all of that, but he came back with the comment, you're not entitled to your own facts. ed, you were watching this very, very closely, former mcdonald's usa ceo. o delivered the goods tonight? >> wow. the american people won clearly, but romney really brought it home. you can see it very clearly. do you want to double down on
the failed policies of obama, or do you want to embrace a clear vision from a businessman that has leadership skills, strategic vision, and can take the country where it needs to go? as a small business guy who used to run a billion dollar company, i tell you, it's miserable right now. if obama thinks for a minute we're not going to find ways around the health care bill, he's crazy. it's going to cost -- neil: but you answered something interesting. we can always play with numbers here. i wish i could do that on my grade point average in college, i couldn't. it was what it was. that's history. one thing that's interesting that romney tried to do is you're talking about how very few small businesses, mr. president, are affected by your coming hike and in the upper rate, but he said they doing the for close to -- do account for close to half of the employees hired by small businesses. i'm paraphrasing it. look, did you get a sense that
he was deliberately going after the president on each and every item that he found offensive in a prosecuting fashion? some looked at that saying now you're losing me so vang the president. what -- so advantage the president. what do you say? >> i think the president just doesn't get it, frankly, and any time we can challenge his premise, we ought to do it. i think romney did it very well. president obama called donald trump small business. that's so foolish, it's not worth talking about. i live in a world with my four restaurants, and i tell you it's very, very difficult. we can't afford anymore taxes or regulation and people sticking their hands in the pie. we can't raise prices. talk about kids going to college, why go to college and spend $85,000 on a college education if you can't get a job?
it's insane. that's what they are missing. the american people won tonight. we got a clear choice. double down on how bad obama is or look for a new vision. neil: you know, ed, quickly, i talked to a few folks who were surprised at what they consider governor romney dialing back a little bit, the size of the tax cut, even though it's 20% across the board for all income groups. he's taken away so many deductions, writeoffs, ect., and now they say, hell, i'm not getting a break at all. i know what governor romney's trying to do, reach out to the middle class, saying he's not an elitist or favor the rich, but could that backfire on him? >> i really don't know. i don't think so because the fact of the matter is our income tax code is so complicated, so convuluded, is costs a fortune to get the taxes done.
my tax return this year is 20 pages long. it's killing me. neil: i'm surprised it was just 20 pages. you're important. that's almost insulting. you should have 200 pages. you're obviously not getting it done. ed, thank you very much, former mcdonalds usa ceo. made a reference to donald trump, by the way, who was a subject in the debate tonight, that the president saying that he would not characterize donald trump as indicative of small business guys, even though mitt romney made the argument that trump is just one of many. trump, apparently hearing this, was talking to our producers from china saying it is a great honor to represent free enterprise in the country as a tremendous job creator. i appreciate being mentioned by the president and governor romney on such an important event. he's also going to be including
that in the next "apprentice". he's a brilliant marketer. even when he's not planning on it, he's the subject. a democrat joining us now, who might have a different view on this debate from what we heard. what do you think? >> i thought the debate tonight -- hate to say i agree with governor christie, but he needed a game changer. i didn't see that here tonight. clearly, governor romney was aggressive, and he needs to be more aggressive, especially at this point in the race, but i did not see the game change. president obama handled himself with that dignified reserve that we've all seen as part of who president obama is, and i thought that there was, in fact, a clear contrast, and i think mr. rency there was right. i mean, governor romney is talking about greater tax cuts and hoping that this time instead of growing deficits is grows jobs, and president
obama's talking about a more balanced approach in line with the sort of policy choices and mix of investments and also balanced approaches that -- neil: but, governor, what did you make of the argument that governor romney used? mr. president, if you were for extending all the bush rates a couple years ago, and arguably the gdp was stronger than it was and is now, and you argue that now and then was not the time to do it? then he did catch the president in a, what the, you know what. >> i think the president, the situation he found himself in was he did not want to see taxes go up on people making less than $250,000 a year. he wanted to see and consistency said he would like to continue that level of taxation on people earning less than $250,000. he was running in, however, to a very hard core obstruction deal saying we're not going forward
with that if you don't include the millionaires and billionaires, and the president was left in a position of having to compromise in order to keep the recover going. neil: governor romney was aggressive? >> the more aggressive, give him that. i don't think he changed the game, and, in fact, he admitted he wanted to turn medicare into a coucher program, all be it for those of us approaching 55. i thought the president called him out on that well. i don't think he gets away any longer with putting out this $5 trillion tax cut. trust me on specifics. repeal this, that, and the other thing. neil: i don't know who won that, governor, really, i had no idea who was right. >> on what? the trillion dollar? neil: like they were each -- >> except it's not the president's proposal. it's governor romney's. neil: i know. he says it's not. president says it is. not, is. it was like -- >> we can go online and see it. it's what he said, and that's what paul ryan said. i can't explain it to you. i can't explain it to you. takes too
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forget about who won or lost. this helps rejazz the base. you didn't use those terms, but those who might have had concerns, this was slipping away from the romney campaign, this release them of that? >> it's more than that. the base, the conservatives, the believers are frustrated with how long the president got away with things that are not true and not having the justify the record. tonight, for the figure time, they feel they stood up to him, pointed out what he did wrong, called him out on things not true, and offered an alternative. i thought the president, tonight, was clearly uncomfortable. he's uncomfortable talking about taxes, about the economy, and he's uncomfortable talking about job creation, and now we understand why the economy's doing poorly. he doesn't have a grip on the issues and his basic assumptions about how jobs are create the -- created are wrong. neil: i didn't realize green
technology, now over the $90 billion figure, but more worrisome to me was a surprise to the president. >> well, i think he was shocked when he turned around, when mitt romney said $90 billion could have hiredded 2 million teachers. that's a stunning figure. neil: dwarfed the oil companies. >> yeah, which, by the way, is not for the oil companies. neil: a special credit allowance >> an accounting treatment older than the two presidents running combined. the subcontractors, the small businesses, costs thousands of jobs, but in addition to that, mitt romney's point was it's a small exemption, and what he gave the solyndr as of the world is 50 years of that exemption. another powerful moment, frustrating, the president talks about a mythical tax cuts we give to companies to ship jobs overseas. mitt romney says i've been in business for 25 years, i don't know what you're talking about, and the president had no comeback for that because it's not true.
finally, the myths are being exposed, and i think the castle is crumbling. neil: you mentioned, senator, that whole do we have this in our tax code or not, the president says we do, mitt romney says we don't. president says mitt romney has a $5 trillion tax cut, and mitt romney says it's not $5 trillion. leaving aside your own party and even the president's party, do you think it confuses people at home, and then they have to kind of pick and choose who they think is telling the truth? >> well, look, there's fact checking tomorrow about the reallies, but the -- realities, but the point is mitt romney wants to lower the tax rate, simplify the tax code, but not in a way that grows the debt. those are very specific, but powerful governing principles. now he's going to engage republicans and democrats in how to accomplish that. that's how you get things done in washington, d.c.. not like this president that tried to ram it down our throats, basically, without working with republicans, force
things like the stimulus and obamacare on to the economy without any input of the legislative branch on many occasions. that's been counterproductive. neil: i know you have to go, but there's a poll that the latest read of latinos is 72% favor the president. is that needle going to change? >> let me tell you, that's a poll of latinos across america. there's a massive number of la latino voters in california and new york. those states are not in contention. what about the latinos in florida, virginia, north carolina, colorado -- neil: president's up in florida. >> here's the appointment, the gap is closer. neil: really? >> in fact, florida, i think mitt romney is going to win the latino vote. neil: florida itself? >> florida itself shows it's a 1-point rate, a tie, and president obama won florida last time by four points. that means there's people in florida that voted for him the last time that are not going to vote for him now. that's a trend. i think that's a good trend for us.
neil: senator rubio, thank you very much, very much. >> good so see you. neil: you have throngs following you, they are my fans, but, no, that was not the case. peter barnes is out there in -- i don't know if you're in the spin room formally or the alley. where are you, peter? >> in the spin alley, neil, but it's one gigantic spin room right now, all in the same big room here in the media center, and listen, most of the blue signs for the president's team are gone already. off the floor. i just see one over here. we still have republican spinners and surrogates here. former new york mayor behind me, and behind him, senator portman of ohio. interestingly, 15 romney spinners and four or five from the obama campaign. i asked why. i asked an obama senior person,
official, why do you only have five people here? you're outnumbered 3-to-1, and the person said, well, we have a focused disciplined message, we only need five people. the romney people are not as focused and disciplined. they need 15 people. back to you. neil: you know, peter, you covered this more than a lot of folks, and that is unusual, and i noticed just trying to pop around and look at numbers, democratic figure heads and republican figure heads, and like you, and you have a firmer grasp of the numbers, i see more republican. that is unusual. normally, they flood in mass to pitch their case and their guy, or is this just unusual this year or they are moving on or what? >> i have to tell you, there back to 2008 and even this time around, the obama people are very, very tight on their messaging. they don't deviate.
they don't go off the script. that was the explanation i got for the fewer numberment you're absolutely right, and in years past, intended to see an even split between the surrogates in the spin room and spin alley after these debates, but this time around, you're absolutely right. david: having trouble with the feed from denver there. peter barnes was talking about the interesting fact that there are much fewer democratic spinners than there are republican spinners whether that would happen on any debate is unknown, although, there's been some suspicion that because it seemed mitt romney was at least a bit stronger than many democrats said he would be, in fact, they decided to pull back from that spin alley routine. we have a lot more guests coming up here as the presidential debate coverage continues.
we're expecting to have gary johnson, libertarian candidate, coming up, giving his perspective, and perhaps if you're looking for a nonneutral perspective, you go down the center which would be gary johnson. interesting to hear what he has to say, and peter barns himself tracking the various spins on the situation. we'll get back to neil and the situation in denver shortly. for now, we'll take a short break -- actually, do we have gary johnson? i believe we do. yes, we do have gary johnson. gary, can you hear me? david asman from new york. gary johnson, can you hear me? david asman here. >> i can, david. david: thank you for being here. we suggested that you might have somewhat of a neutral perspective on what happened tonight. obviously, democrats saying the president held his own, republicans saying he was a slam dunk for romney. what say you?
>> much to do about nothing. i mean, the country is in deep doo-doo. we all have to take on mutual sacrifice if we're going to save ourselves from a mop -- monetary collapse. the two are arguing over lowering corporate tax rates wha. about eliminating corporation tax? how about eliminating income tax? abolish the irs with one federal consumption tax, in this case, i'm embracing the fair tax. i think that's the answer to tens of millions of american jobs. you got romney talking about tariffs on china? what about the notion of free market? you got both of them arguing over who is going to spend more money on medicare when we ought to have a raging debate in this country over how we're going to cut medicare because we're never going to balance the budget if we don't take on really difficult issues, and medicare is really the budget buster.
david: gary, i thought other than that, you thought they were terrific? i'm joking, i'm joking, i'm joking, gary. we are having difficulty with the satellite in denver, and when it's back, we'll continue, but we have gary johnson as the guest, a libertarian candidate. i appreciate what you are saying. i'm surprised, and i expect tea partyers and other republican conservatives might have been upset at the fact that mitt romney didn't express enough talk about getting rid of the big government spending, and, in fact, they talked about keeping spending for programs like education in full speed whereas a lot of conservative republicans, not just the libertarians, but conservative republicans might say, hey, look, why do we need a federal department of education in the first place? >> take the federal department of education for starters. look, forecast -- federal department of education gives each state 11 cents out of
what every state spends. that comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. the federal government says do, a, b, c, and d. they give you 11 cents, but it costs 16 cents to do that. what has been value added about the department of education? they talked about college tuitions tonight. look, the reason college tuitions are high is because the government guarantees student loans. if there were not government guaranteed student loans, i guarantee you tuition costs would be much, much, much lower because colleges and universities want to fill up classrooms, and right now, they are immune from pricing. david: gary johnson, great to see you. very quickly, going back to neil, but just tell us who you thought won, one or the other? >> quickly, i win the debate. i'm not the third choice, but
the only choice. choice. i am the only choice. >> i suspected that would be the answer. gary john sen from chicago. a beautiful shot. high definition. >> thank god you were there. >> the second time tonight we had satellite problems. i apologize. they're brief and and dave did excellent job there with gary johnson who wishes he could be in the debate. we think the next few
minutes we will be engaged who people think one. what did candidates do in the morning and how early polls will read this. if you are mitt romney it disrupts a free fall. we will talk to douglas brinkley if it is a turning point* or eight punctuation point* more from the university of denver right after this.
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cheerleaders was in favor of romney cheerleaders of the march 106 /1. that may not mean anything to thomas brinkley. >> you have done a good job. it is a good night for mitt romney probably the best in months. he has not had momentum since september but he more than stabilized. we can talk about the economy but to he gave an alternative to obama to position himself as someone who could be president. obama dell right it was not historic but the beginning of the potential comeback
for mitt romney. neil: senator rubio said look at the missteps from this spring are other comments ill-timed or others but he lost momentum and they lost enthusiasm. he got it back to night. >> i agree. in the morning he has to declare victory to say that i want. barack obama did not damage himself he did not come in as said gladiator he seemed to want to have discourse he did not do brand damage but to say mitt romney came out
a couple notches ahead. if he could do that the trend is significant the president will have to up his game to be more in a fighting spirit. he seemed like he wanted to get it over with. that is the prerogative but it was a good night for the republicans. neil: neither one was wearing a watch. [laughter] historic they those with knicks then/kennedy and reagan and/carter. today confirmed the trend or reverse was a trend?
>> now there will be fact checking. we will see how that pans out. did mitt romney get a bounce? and donor money gets reenergize but not a sound bite to live on. there was the one about the airplane. neil: you cannot have there own fax. >> nothing that will be on 10 days from now but a feeling. it could be seen as significant. neil: you are a historian and i read teleprompter is.
i am in your league. i have a theory. not to disparage the president but those who support him are ratigan discern and there is still concern about the economy and they are very cautious with the nation is going. i think among the president's supporters, there is the son easy resignation because the other guy does not appeal to me. >> lindale it is 8% unemployment democrats have to be nervous but barack
obama has never been that great of the debater. it was more mccain making gaffes then but retail politics with energizing crowds it could be the winning formula. they are close in the polls already. neil: do think he got under the president's skin? he does not like to be challenged. there was the snide comment to jim lehrer. it was flippant but it had the notion he can be too sensitive. >> the republicans have a
problem in 2011 with 40 debates. obama has not had anybody challenging him. pelosi and reader not or his administration. the first time in republican could get at him mano a mano. the president seem perturbed that he had to respond and he is president of united states. i agree with you. neil: you should pursue this history thing. i think the you have a future. you work the graveyard shift and i am proud of view. neil: it is my i feel that way.
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neil. >> i don't want to kill jobs in this environment. one more point*. >> we had this discussion before the. >> in order to reduce the deficit there have to be revenue in addition to cut. >> mitt romney has ruled out revenue. >> absolutely. neil: okay. i think the gist of that was how to get the deficit under control in have to have a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. and what about the president in a mitt romney to some
ratio? and that it would not cut it for him. i don't think he scored. i think romney clearly one. he does need to provide more specifics, but i think he was in command. he made a couple of statements that need to be clarified. and he does not want more revenue but he wasn't true growth not taxes. what do you define as more revenue? as compared to current gdp your under current law?
we are under much higher levels than before. to thing surprised me. obama's said social security doesn't have a problem. it needs tweeting. it is underfunded $8 trillion and he also said his idea was not that different than governor romney's. especially since the president has not said much but when the president compared himself to bill clinton because he supported tough budget controls and reform welfare and did not expand entitlements. neil: that was the golden opportunity for mitt romney to say you are no bill
clinton. but maybe would welcome this would romney said i will cut tax rates i will limit deductions and allowances. rethink of the rich guys around the country saying i know you would substantially cut taxes but i wonder doesn't come back to hurt? i don't know this 5 trillion or billion but is striking a surprising reaction. >> the $5 trillion tax cut
number is bogus. neil: where did they get it? >> he said he wanted 20% across the board rate cut but they did not consider he would eliminate deductions and credits and exclusions to pay for all or part of that. neil: he did not specify. >> correct. he led them to believe he would not eliminate certain things. the bottom line. you cannot have 46 point* 4 percent of taxpayers not paying income tax. 15.9% poverty rate. 46 .4% don't pay federal taxes. 20% and rebates. we have to close the gap and the effective tax rate for
the wealthy needs to go up but how you do that matters. bring the rate down and if we can bring that down individual and corporate, you can eliminate the difference from capital gains and ordinary and come to help the situation. i talk to the new york economic club and people around the country and they think that is reasonable. neil: thank you very much. comptroller general. he is the conscience but it is a fair description. apparently there are reaction polls what do they
base it on? they seem romney had a good night. that is the immediate reaction but if you are met romney at a minimum, the fear or the panic among the base now you can say calm down. the race is on and so are the debates. and then october 22nd is the final one. fox will cover each and every one. we will fix our technical bugs. we are on top of your money. it matters. now matter what.
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